Google promises EU Fitbit data will not be used for furthering ad business post-acquisition2
Google has assured the European Commission that it wouldn't use Fitbit's health and wellness data for targeting ads if the deal is allowed to close, according to Reuters.
In November last year, Google's intention to buy Fitbit for $2.1 billion emerged. The fitness-tracking device maker is the fifth-largest player in the wearables market per estimates but it is struggling to keep up in the face of rising competition from Apple, Xiaomi, Samsung, and Huawei.
Google, on the other hand, is keen on bolstering its hardware unit which currently comprises smartphones, tablets, notebooks, and smart speakers.
Advocacy groups had expressed their concerns about the deal, arguing that it would give Google access to sensitive data such as user's fitness activity and hear rates. Rivals have also been surveyed to determine if the deal has the potential to thwart competition.
A week ago, it was reported that Google could avoid a full-blown EU antitrust investigation into the acquisition if its pledges not to use data from Fitbit's hardware.
The deadline for Google to make this commitment was July 13 and if it hadn't taken up the offer, it would have resulted in an investigation spanning four months.
The concession is still no guarantee that the deal would be allowed to go through and the final decision is expected on August 4. Google says that the acquisition is about devices, and not data and has reiterated that it will not use Fitbit device data for advertising. The company had previously said that existing users would be provided with the option to “review, move, or delete their data.”
The European Commission will reportedly gather feedback from Google's rivals and users before approving the deal. If serious concerns are raised, the trading bloc might ask for more concessions or open a months-long investigation into the matter.